I. Beginning with the end in mind (Backwards Design)
In order to ensure that learning experiences will prepare students for assessments within a unit, let's start with a performance task.

  • Performance Task: a way to assess what students know, understand, and can do at the end of a unit.
  • Learning experiences: the situations and tasks in which students engage that help them process the content, as well as, develop skills during various classroom lessons that have been developed from an overall unit. These student engagements prepare them for success on the final performance task.

  • Today's Performance Task Example: Below is an example of a performance task that would assess the learning experiences participants will engage in during today's session.
    • You are a member of an expert team of geographers, historians, government officials, anthropologists and economists. Your team has been charged with preparing and delivering a report at an International Conference on Imperialism a year prior to the outbreak of World War I. Your team’s report should identify what your group of experts has determined to be the motivating factors for and positive and negative effects of nations competing for resources. Each team’s report and presentation should be able to articulate the reasons they feel are the best in justifying or refuting as to if it is inevitable that a developing nation will fall under the control of a developed nation if its resources are valuable.

Click on the performance task sample here to explore the example.

II. Setting the stage
A. Making a connection to what it means to be literate in Social Studies
Each sub discipline of Social Studies has its own unique processes, approaches, tools and knowledge base, therefore students should be engaged in learning experiences that will allow them to become “practitioners” in each sub discipline in order to apply the unique processes, approaches, tools, and knowledge base to solve authentic, complex problems and issues. (Erickson, 21) Consequently, students will begin to develop disciplinary ways of knowing, understanding, and doing that build over time. Not only will students become literate in the sub disciplines, but they will also begin to use this disciplinary knowledge in interdisciplinary studies.

B. Anticipatory Set/Hook
-1st, read the following quote and reflect upon it based on the directions below:

“Everything, including all people, exists only through relationships with other people or things. Nothing exists in isolation or absolute independence. No person or thing can arise of, for, or by its own accord. Everything is interdependent.” ~Taro Gold

-2nd, decide if you believe that it is more important to the whole of humanity to preserve a culture and its people or is it more important to cultivate the spirit of enterprise and the acquisition of land and resources.
-3rd, discuss your thoughts at your table or within your group.
-4th, be prepared to share with the group.

III. Primary and Secondary Source Learning Experience (one of several in a unit)

Participation Directions:
  • In this learning experience, each group will focus on one of the five conceptual strands of the NC Essential Standards for Social Studies by representing a specific expert group of social scientists.
  • Each table should have a document to analyze based on the assigned strand (e.g. the History Stand Center gets a History document).
  • There are five to six primary or secondary sources in each packet. Each person in the group should decide which document they would like to work with.
  • Once each person has a document to analyze, open your "Strand" document and scroll through the document to find the questions aligned with your source.
  • Once each person in the group has answered the guiding questions, they will meet with the larger community of social scientists to discuss the questions and sources. Everyone will then use this experience and information to assist with analyzing artifacts.

Additionally, this learning experience will give participants some possible ideas on how one might incorporate the K-12 Social Studies graphic organizers as instructional tools.

Share and Tell – Primary and Secondary Source Learning Experience:
  • As a group, each group member should take 1-2 minutes to share and summarize the source that he/she analyzed.

IV. Team Analysis of Artifacts Learning Experience
  • Participants can count from 1 to 5 and move to the appropriate group for this activity.
  • Move to appropriate table or group.
  • Each person should take on the expert role they worked with in order to brainstorm and dialogue about the types of questions that a particular social scientist would ask if they had to examine the artifacts as an expert consultant in a field of social studies.
  • Discuss as a group and be prepared to share out to the whole class your group's discussion about how to address the problem that set the stage for inquiry at the beginning of the lesson. (How can nations acquire land, resources and markets without compromising, altering or destroying the nations or regions they seek to control?)
  • If you need guidance on how to analyze these artifacts while maintaining the viewpoint of your expert, use the questions in the document here.

Share and Tell – Artifacts Learning experience:

  • As a group, share out to the whole class your group's discussion about what your artifacts symbolized or represented and your discussions about the problem.

    Digital tools used during the course of this presentation have been helpful to some educators across the state. However, due to the rapidly changing digital environment, NCDPI does not represent nor endorse that these tools are the exclusive digital tools for the purposes outlined during the presentation.

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